Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Written by: Stephen Shields, Guy Busick
Starring: Alisha Weir, Melissa Barrera, Dan Stevens, Kathryn Newton, William Catlett, Kevin Durand, Giancarlo Esposito
Released: April 18, 2024
Grade: B-


Abigail is a horror-thriller about vampires but, looking to do something different, the writers open the film as a crime drama.  A team of 6 strangers, all unknown to each other, have been recruited to kidnap a young girl from a well-fortified house and then “babysit” her for 24-hours at a remote location.  The end plan is for her extremely wealthy father to pay a substantial ransom, and they’ll each walk away with an extra $7 million in the bank.  The crime’s execution dominates the film’s first act.

Beyond that point, things are more conventional.  Vampires get their hideously pointed teeth into the necks of fresh victims and suck them of their blood.  Non-vampires use an array of traditional weapons including garlic, stakes, and sunlight as a means of survival.  Helping keep the tone light, characters even refer to the likes of Ann Rice, Twilight, and True Blood in search of meaning and answers.

There’s early intrigue but my interest levels waned once the film’s key plot points were revealed.  They’re a cliched group of criminals who come across as actors as opposed to credible characters.  They’re dumb when it suits the film’s needs, and they’re smart when the opposite applies.  If you want me to care about these people and their fate, I need sharper dialogue, deeper backstories (oh, one has a kid), and a reason to cheer for them.

The film’s humorous events are stronger than dramatic ones.  It needed to lean more in that direction.  Provided you’re not too squeamish, there’s laughs to be drawn from the explosive death sequences.  Who knew the human body holds so much blood and guts?  14-year-old Irish actress Alisha Weir (Matilda the Musical) also deserves praise for the emotional and tonal range she brings to the title character.  She’s more interesting than her naive kidnappers.

Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, the guys responsible for the last two Scream movies, Abigail is worth a look (particularly for fans of the genre) but lacks a distinctiveness to make it stand out from the growing vampire pack.